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Croatian cucumber salad

4 Jul

Croatian cucumber salad

I served this simple Croatian cucumber salad to accompany the prawns alla busara we had for dinner last night. The recipe seemed so simple, I hadn’t intended to post it.

But it was so crisp, cool and refreshing that I changed my mind. Continue reading

Prawns alla busara

3 Jul

Prawns buzara

I’ve been wanting to cook prawns alla busara ever since I saw Rick Stein prepare them on the Croatia segment of his Venice to Istanbul cookery show.

By the time he’d rustled up a delicious-looking plate of prawns bathed in a wine-rich tomato sauce, my mouth was watering. Continue reading

Summer pudding

2 Jul

Summer pudding

Before moving to the UK, I’d never eaten summer pudding. I was dead impressed the first time my mother-in-law served one up for dessert.

As she’s a very accomplished cook, I assumed summer puddings required patisserie skills I’d never possess. Turns out she’s a canny cook as well – and summer pudding couldn’t be easier to make. Continue reading

Salade liègeoise

1 Jul

Salade liègeoise

After tasting her salade liègeoise this evening, my older daughter remarked that what she likes best about trying recipes from different countries is recognising adaptations of familiar dishes.

“Like this salade liègeoise, for example – this is just a salade niçoise for people who don’t have tomatoes.”

She’s spot on, and it really brought home to me one of the reasons I cook the way I do. It a way of engaging with the world, of opening a window into different cultures – “dining table” travel, if you will. Continue reading

Blueberry mazurka

30 Jun

Blueberry mazurka

Mazurka (or mazurek) is a traditional Polish cake served at Easter and other special occasions. There are lots of mazurka recipes online – some for single-layer mazurka topped with fruit or chocolate and drizzled with icing; others with the fillings sandwiched between two thin layers of cake.

I chose this blueberry mazurka recipe for its similarity to the date squares my family makes at Christmas. It hadn’t occurred to me to use anything other than dates for the middle layer – my eyes are opened to all sorts of possibilities now…;-) Continue reading

Cheese byrek

29 Jun

Cheese byrek

Börek, burek, byrek, byorek… The vowels may change from country to country, but the delicious, savoury pastries found across Turkey and the Balkans are largely the same.

In Albania, spinach seems to be the most common filling for byrek. But they sounded so similar to the spanakopita I occasionally make, that I opted for a cheese version instead. Continue reading

Salata de vinete (aubergine salad)

28 Jun

Salata de vinete

Salata de vinete is a traditional Romanian dip or spread that is served with pitta or crackers. I did some research online – even watching a video of Nadia Comenici preparing salata de vinete – before asking my Romanian friend Dan for tips. Continue reading